I’ve never classed myself as a hoarder, in fact I have always loved having clear-outs and getting rid of bags of stuff for charity. It’s just that getting rid of those bags never seemed to make a difference.
I now know that there were two reasons for that; firstly I wasn’t de-cluttering enough, I would only ever do a small section then give up. Secondly I wasn’t changing my buying habits. What I was actually doing was a bit ridiculous, I was getting rid of bags of stuff only to bring more back into the house again. Obviously the fact I wasn’t de-cluttering enough meant I wasn’t experiencing the positive effects, therefore I didn’t realise why I needed to stop buying more. I mean, I wasn’t a shopaholic or anything but trips to charity shops or Ikea would always result in me buying random crap that we didn’t need.
Then at the end of last month a few things just came together and they helped me realise that something neeeded to change. I had been watching a programme called Consumed on Netflix and after getting home from a trip away our living room literally looked like we could have appeared on an episode of it. I immediately started packing up bags to get rid of and on that very same day I saw my friend Beth (@somedayslower) post on Instagram about a minimalist challenge called the #Minsgame. The idea being that throughout December you get rid of around 460 things, 1 on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd etc.
So I joined in and we are only on day 10 but I have realised so many things, it sounds a bit crazy but it really has changed my life and had such a positive effect on our household.
I thought I would share the things I’ve learnt so far..
I have actually started taking pleasure in cleaning!! I never knew where to start before. I looked up some eco-friendly ways to clean taps and make them shiny, they worked so well. Lemon juice, bicarb of soda and vinegar, plus a steel scourer..wow!! I even cleaned my radiators. Keeping the house clean & tidy is so much easier when you have less stuff.
The living room is much more relaxing which means I can handle the kids jumping of furniture / running around in a way that I couldn’t when there was stuff everywhere. It felt like too much. As a result the kids have connected again and are playing together instead of moaning they are bored, or just watching their devices.
As a side note, we have decided to stop giving pocket money for toys and instead they can choose an experience. Not always planning the next toy or only playing with the latest thing has meant they have finally started playing with their existing toys. These never got touched before!! They have spent all day today playing with the Hatchimals that they got last Christmas but never played with after that! They have even admitted that by not getting new things they can take the time to appreciate the things they already have.
I have learnt to be happy in our small house. I was obsessed with moving before, feeling like we had outgrown it with all our stuff. Now that stuff has gone the space is feeling more manageable. I’ve been watching YouTube videos on small space living and feeling really positive about our little house. This is important I think as at the end of the day going down that trap of thinking you can’t be happy until you have more is dangerous, would I have really been happier? If I can’t be happy with my now then it was doubtful I would have been happier with a bigger house. That’s not to say I want to be here forever, I would love to live somewhere with some land to grow veggies or spend some time travelling around Europe in a campervan but I will no longer make the mistake of thinking I can’t be happy until I have these things.
I’ve had to rethink my hobby. Our house was drowning in my crocheted wall hangings and dreamcatchers. Having the odd one would have been fine but I had SO many. I am going to think of a way I can crochet but make things that are actually useful, also I want to stick to using more eco-friendly yarns (that are vegan too obviously).
It’s cleared my mind. I don’t feel so overwhelmed with everything which has helped me focus on things I wanted to achieve before but didn’t have the mind space for. Things like becoming more zero waste or cooking from scratch more. I made my own dishwasher powder today!
I think this means I’m a recently converted minimalist?!
P.S This isn’t my house… yet 😉